*Says “We'll not accept discriminatory implementation”
A lawyer, Attorney CN Ajie has petitioned the Supreme Court over perceived “discriminatory implementation” in the matter of Nigerian Bar Association [NBA] Stamps.
In its decision on Tuesday, 27 October, 2015, the Supreme Court had affirmed that legal document without NBA stamp, seal is void.
In the judgment, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division which summarily dismissed the preliminary objection which challenged the Appellants’ Notice of Appeal for failure to bear the stamp/seal of the legal practitioner who signed it.
In allowing the appeal, the Supreme Court upheld the sole issue formulated by the 2nd Cross-Appellant; ‘Whether the Court of Appeal was right to hold that failure of a legal document to have affixed to it a Stamp/Seal as mandated by rule 10(1) of the rules of professional conduct did not carry with it the consequence of rendering such legal document incompetent’.
However, Attorney Ajie observed a discriminatory policy of NBA national officers in the implementation of the NBA Stamp/Seal in the petition titled "NBA Stamps: We'll Not Accept Discriminatory Implementation."
According to the attorney, there exists an “incongruity and inconsistencies in the application of the NBA stamps and seal additional charge”.
Below is the copy of the petition:
NBA Stamps: We'll Not Accept Discriminatory Implementation
Tuesday 22nd Dec., 2015
The Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria
My Lord the CJN,
NBA STAMP/SEAL : WHAT IS GOOD FOR SOME LAWYERS IS GOOD FOR OTHER LAWYERS
On Monday 21st Dec., my attention was respectfully called to the discriminatory policy of NBA national officers in the implementation of the NBA Stamp/Seal. As your Lordship would note by virtue of s8 of Legal Practitioners Act, a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria is entitled to the right of audience if he or she has paid the prescribed annual practicing fees as at 31st March each year.
Recalling the valid and subsisting Order of Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko, JSC in MEGA PROGRESSIVE PARTY vs INEC in that efforts by the NBA to implement stamps/seal would require amendment to the practice directions and the subsequent decision of the Supreme Court per Ngwuta JSC in SC 722/2015 that failure to affix the NBA Stamp/Seal does not invalidate a court process but a mere irregularity.
Aware that the NBA National officers have issued NBA Stamps/seals to Senior Advocates of Nigeria all across Nigeria – FREE! Apparently because they protested the Stamp/seal policy, to appease them. My Lord whilst other lawyers are being charged per packet of NBA Stamp/seal, N4,000 (Four Thousand Naira) plus postage or courier, certain lawyers receive theirs free and with all due respect, they are not necessarily the ones making the most contribution to Nigeria’s jurisprudence. Hence we have copied as many lawyers on this email list, with a view to drawing attention to the anomaly, Because from Jan next year, we are going to launch campaigns to stop this incongruity and inconsistencies in the application of the NBA stamps and seal additional charge, not to separate it from the annual practicing fees that had been hiked in the last 2 – 3 years by over 100% as if there is a plot to perpetually scrunch our colleagues.
In all fairness what is good for one set of lawyers is good for every lawyer bearing in mind that the equal opportunity clause contained in Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Therefore upon payment of the annual practicing fees, ALL lawyers should receive the NBA stamp/seal.
Attorney CN Ajie
Copy: NBA, BoSAN, BoB, NJC, Hon. CJs